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I watch your heart break from a distance
And there is nothing I can do.
When you were small,
I could cuddle you
And make you giggle
And kiss your tears away
And you would be all better.
Now, my touch at the sight of your tears
Makes you angry,
And the choices you never made
Are making you hurt.
It’s a pain we all go through.
You’ve seen it near break me.
And when it happens to you,
You think no one can know how you feel.
But we do.
We all do.
That doesn’t make it any easier.
I wish it did.
I so wish
Having a teenage daughter makes you walk back into your own past. You see the things that she is going through and, if you are open, you can remember how you felt at that age, what you were feeling, how you reacted. I was going to say “if you are lucky”, but I must admit that revisiting my teenage years, even in my mind, is sometimes a painful thing. Adolescence isn’t something that most of us would want to go through twice, at least not without the benefit of the wisdom we gain in our futures – and now, I WILL say “if we are lucky”.
I was a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first date until I was almost 16, didn’t have my first kiss until I was actually 16. (You don’t get any more details past that point, sorry.) I was a miserable 14- and 15-year-old. I didn’t know why no one was interested in me. I wanted to believe that I was so pretty that I scared boys off, but my Mother told me that was not the case – she did it gently, but I still remember that conversation – exactly where we were and everything. My best friend Sarah and I felt like we were wearing some sort of sign that said “Never been kissed.” And just like a lot of other things in life, if you didn’t have experience, no one seemed to want to take a chance on you. Sounds like trying to find a job, doesn’t it? Of course, the corollary is rather true as well – if you had too much experience, people weren’t really interested in you either. Strangely enough, also like it is in the business world.
Anyway, as I said, I was a grumpy, bad-tempered teenager (until I could drive and then the world literally opened up before me. I became much nicer once I found my wings.) I didn’t want to be seen with my parents. I stayed in my room almost all the time that I was home, entertaining romantic notions of escape, and what my life would be like. I spent a lot of time in a dreamworld. The scarring experience of my pre-teen years likely played a role in this confused isolationism, and while I remember that, I don’t add it into the equation when I think about my teenage years in the grand scope of things. I guess I remember being a typical teenager.
Well, bloom I did, robustly and delightfully. I think most of us do, even though we think it will never happen. And once I came into my power, I felt invincible. Sometimes I still feel that way. Invincible, yes. Loveable is a little harder to believe, but I’m making good progress on it.
As I watch my girl and her friends go through their teenage years, I compare my own experience to theirs, and draw up from the depths of my soul the turbulent emotions surrounding change, acceptance, love, hormones, justice, freedom, adulthood, social quandaries, sexuality, school, frustrations, and delights. I don’t know if I’m right in applying my own perspective to their situations, now some 35 years later.
But on some level, I think that young women are young women (even if those of my daughter’s age are a bit more worldly than most girls of that age were in the late 1970s), and that the emotions that swirl around aging haven’t changed. In fact, as I find my half-century mark rushing up to meet me squarely in the chin, I realize that I am still experiencing a myriad of emotions around love, escape, freedom, satisfaction, work, frustrations, justice, time demands, acceptance, and delights. I don’t think of myself as much older than Kelsea or her friends at heart. I still feel things just as fully, innocently, and honestly as they do, as I did back then.
I was a late bloomer back then. Perhaps I’m a late bloomer now. Perhaps I am just eternally in bloom. But I am reminded of those lovely roses that bloom until early in the fall, their petals full and lush, their fragrance sweet. And when it is time for them to go, those petals fall like velvet tears, their scent still lingers in the air.
Photo of the day for January 30, 2012: Late Bloomer
San Francisco, California.
A lovely weekend
The man who leaves walks down Wynkoop every day playing his mandolin at 5:00 pm
Cases of San Pellegrino
Instead of a quote of the day, I have a request: Please send prayers to Sarah Bennett, one of Kelsea’s friends who was seriously injured in a car accident during the weekend.
Picking up en route from Mount Rushmore…
After a bunch more “Think or Die” signs, we reached Crazy Horse or, more properly, the Crazy Horse Memorial. Our first experience at the monument was a faux pas in which we saw a white Suburban with 20 kid icons on the back windshield.
We exclaimed loudly that it must be the Duggars, then realized that the matriarch was sitting in the passenger seat with her window down, right next to our squawking selves. We hastily passed by, trying to deflect her icy stare, which we could feel even through her sunglasses.
Neither of us had much background information on the Memorial - Kelsea wasn’t even sure if Crazy Horse was a man, a place, or an event. So we watched the informative video, encouraged by the docents at the Center. The sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, was so cool, and his family carries on the legacy of being so cool. We love that they accept no government monies for the project, which explains why it is taking so long. Korczak started working on it in 1948 and it’s far from finished, whereas Mount Rushmore took 14 years to complete. We’d like to donate dynamite to the cause. We like the idea of being part of blowing something up. I know that sounds wrong. But hey.
Korczak’s attitude towards the government reminded me of Jim Bishop of Bishop’s Castle in Colorado, but it was clear that Korczak, unlike Bishop, did accumulate some wealth and possessions in the course of his project. The part of his “house” that was open felt a lot like a European castle.
You can’t get close to Crazy Horse unless you pay extra to take a van tour, which we didn’t, but the renderings that are used for the actual sculpture are beautiful.
There’s a nice little museum in which I had a minor spiritual journey with a Native American dress.
We got to take home a rock that had been blasted out of the mountain to form the monument.
The spot has its own post office and zip code.
There were some random pieces that seemed unrelated – like Shaquille O’Neal’s shoe.
Korczak’s studio was really cool. It had the feel of a place that would be ultra-creepy at night.
There was also a hall with Native Americans selling various wares. Somehow, we both had a problem with that. It felt like we, as white folks, were saying, “Hey guys, let’s massacre you and steal your lands, but we’ll build a monument to you to say we’re sorry and throw in a couple of folding tables so you can eke out a living on our terms.” There is no possible reparation.
We didn’t stay here too long. The vibe felt kind of empty, hollow, not right. But at least they’re making an effort.
So we left and immersed ourselves in one of the most cluttered places ever – Doyle’s Antiques and Stuff, where we were greeted by a goiter-laden donkey.
This place had unbelievable amounts of Stuff (as advertised) crammed in every corner.
and another owner reminiscent of Jim Bishop, based on the random signage.
I barely resisted the giant rooster. I would have loved to drive back to Colorado with that sitting in the back of the truck. In fact, I loved it so much, I may have to go back for it. Perfect for the front yard. Can’t you just see him peeking over the fence?
I also barely resisted the FREE stuffed pheasant whose head had been eaten by God knows what. We have Kelsea to thank for that tasteful veto, as she was thoroughly opposed to it continuing to molt in the truck for the remainder of the trip.
We did pick up an antique apothecary bottle (free) and a vintage first-aid kit for my not-soon-enough-to-be EMT.
Our last excursion on this busy day was Custer State Park. Even with all the literature, we never did figure out why the park was named after Custer, as it didn’t look like he had much of a positive influence in this area. But then I suppose that’s a matter of perspective – he was clearly influential in some way, so maybe the positive doesn’t matter.
We took Needles Highway into the park. I couldn’t really figure out why it was called Needles Highway until we got to the tunnels. It’s called Needles Highway because going through some of those tunnels is like threading a needle. We shrieked the entire way through one – and we have it on video. I’m amazed that anything larger than my truck could make it.
Needles Highway is edged by the distinctive rock spires of the Black Hills. It is also full of idiot drivers who park blocking the roadways so they can get out to see the spires from 20 feet closer, thus causing fuming road rage in certain other drivers who shall not be named publicly.
Craving calm (or tequila, but calm was my first choice), we pulled off the road at a LEGITIMATE parking spot a bit further along, and went for a climb. We each found our individual rocks for peace and sat separately for a while, doing some soul-level housecleaning. It was quiet and beautiful and I released some things into the ancient richness of the Black Hills. I hope they can float with more ease now, and find their perfect drift in the universe wherever the current leads.
Kelsea leapt from rock to rock like a winged mountain goat. I watched her silently, my stomach leaping into my mouth each time she went airborne. As we headed back to the truck, she found a boulder stack she wanted to free climb. She’s a good climber, having spent some time at the climbing gym, and so I didn’t stop her, but as a mother, all my thoughts were, ‘Oh God, what if she falls and breaks her head open like Piggy in Lord of the Flies?’ Of course, she didn’t.
Needles Highway runs into the Wildlife Loop Road, which (as you might imagine) loops around the Park. It’s a great road and took us through a variety of changing terrains of equally matched beauty.
We hadn’t been on the loop for five minutes before we saw a buffalo nomming grass on the side of the road. Then we encountered some anti-social antelope, and another small bison herd in the distance.
Kelsea can tend towards carsickness, so she distracted herself by taking pictures of her shoe.
I did the same, though I was stopped at the time.
And then we came upon the donkeys. I suspect that the park has planted the donkey herds to guarantee any passing tourist an up-close and personal wildlife experience.
Because there was no avoiding the donkeys.
Totally social, tame, hand-feedable, another visitor gave us peanuts to feed them.
The babies were adorable.
And each donkey dutifully checked out each car to see who had the best treats. I love donkeys and haven’t had such interactions with them in, well, ever. But I han’t been around baby donkeys since Anegada. And a little further down the road was ANOTHER herd, with the littlest baby just getting his legs. They caused a donkey traffic jam.
And one decided to give me a close-in hello.
A few mule deer sightings, and we were back on the road to Rapid City, marvelling at the cool softness of the air and the diversity of the landscape we’d seen today.
We were both starving and went to Botticelli’s Restaurant, which smelled amazing, but was understaffed. Our wait was 45 minutes and I thought Kelsea was going to eat me. She did eat the paper from her straw before her food came. And the food was good, particularly the chicken piccata, but probably not worth the painful wait.
And so Day 3 came to a close. We have a couple of stops on Day 4, and then we are homeward bound.
A recent Freshly Pressed post, http://cold-glass.com/2011/02/21/what-was-your-first-cocktail/, made me remember the story of MY first cocktail, and this being Sunday morning, and I being charmingly irreverent, thought I would share the tale today.
When E-Bro went to college, he moved about four blocks away to a dorm on Duke University’s East Campus. I was still a refreshingly innocent 16 year-old. Back then, while you couldn’t really buy beer and wine at 16 (you had to wait until you were 18), it seems we did, because I remember sharing bottles of Riunite Lambrusco with various friends from time to time, and a picnic Sarah and I had at Duke Gardens one summer in which we had little bottles of pink champagne.
At any rate, one fine fall day, E-Bro invited me to his dorm room after I was out of school. Let me preface this by saying that we did not come from a family of drinkers. My Dad had bottles of unique liqueurs gathering dust in the basement, and there were bottles of Boone’s Farm and Manischewitz in the basement refrigerator that would show up empty by the back door from time to time. (Sheltered by the washing machine, when I was very little, I would tipple the dribbles in the bottom of the bottle in secret when no one was looking – yes, a lush in the making – and I liked the blackberry wine the best.) I never ever saw my parents drink at home. Not once, until E-Bro and I were adults, and would bring home our own beers and wines. Even then, my Dad would only have a few sips or a small glass, and my Mom none at all. But the tales of drinking with my parents are best left for another post.
So on this fine fall day, as I say, I paid E-Bro a visit. Hard alcohol was not quite as new to E-Bro as it was to me at the time, but that part of his shady past is something I know little about, so we’ll just leave it in the shade, shall we? I’m sure Erik Le Rouge could supply some background, if I wheedled it out of him. (Wow, I do seem to distract myself this morning, don’t I? It’s not like I have ADD or something….oh, look, a chicken! Wait, what was I saying?)
We visited a while. Even though he was close to home and brought occasional friends and laundry by, I missed him. As much as we had fought during our childhood, it was really hard for me (and for my folks) when he went to college. I remember they snipped at each other ALL the time after he left, to the extent that, one morning over breakfast, I basically yelled at them and told them that I didn’t care if they were suffering from the “empty nest syndrome” because I was still here, he was gone, that was a fact, and to stop picking at each other all the time, or I would be gone too. That shut them up, made them think, and improved things. You have to understand that I NEVER spoke to my parents like that. Now see? There I went again. Distraction action.
Back to our story…. Somehow or other, as we were listening to some ELP, E-Bro’s and my conversations came around to partying. He said – and mind you now, this is what older brothers do, as all you little sisters out there well know – “Hey, I want you to try something.” Words every little sister dreads to hear, but accepts with a brave facade and a resigned internal sigh. He got some juice glasses (no doubt “borrowed” from the Student Union – didn’t we all do that?) and poured me the following: a glass of gin, a glass of vodka, a glass of whiskey, and a glass of rum. We’re not talking a full glass, but we’re talking about two shots per glass. “Okay,” he said, “see which one you like best.”
And so I drank them all. One by one. And by the time I was done, I was pretty darn happy. And pretty darned reeling. And the whole world looked pretty darned good.
I liked the gin the best.
I was invited to several of his dorm parties while he was in college and I was still in Durham. I drank a little (not too much), met some nice people, set some carpeting on fire, watched girls compare scars from their suicide attempts. All fodder for other tales. Sometime in E-Bro’s sophomore year, at one of his parties, I asked for my usual gin, and whoever was pouring said, “Whoa, don’t you want some tonic with that?” I looked at him, most puzzled. “Tonic?” I asked, “What for? What’s that?”
Yes, I had been drinking straight gin for over a year. E-Bro neglected to tell me that there was such a thing as mixers.
I consider the whole experience early weight-training for my liver.
I have since passed far away from gin, went through a whiskey phase, will turn to vodka as a coolant on occasion, and dearly love rum. I’m pleased to say that, even with all the stress and sorrow of the last few months, I never drink alone, and I only drink once a week or so, in a social sort of way. So the lush life has most fortunately passed me by.
But I still treasure the memory of my first cocktail – okay, as much of it as I can remember.
How many of you Moms out there struggle with having a child who refuses to dress appropriately for the weather?
Kelsea is 14. This is the first year since she was able to talk that I have been able to get her to wear a winter coat. In fact, this year, she has TWO! One is an army surplus jacket we got at a vintage store in Cheyenne. The other, which looks almost identical but is warmer, is one that Pat got her for her birthday. He had suggested to me that I find her a winter coat. And I respectfully told him to do it himself. I tried to find a coat she liked last year and nearly had a meltdown after 10 stores and no nods of approval, and I refused to do it again. To my way of thinking, I’d found her the army jacket. If he wanted her to have something else, he could go and find her something else. And damned if he didn’t find something she liked almost immediately.
I’m happy that she looks warm. As she has always told me, she’s a Colorado girl and the cold doesn’t affect her like it does me with my thin Southern blood. There may be some truth in what she says. She gets much hotter than I do in the heat, and stays much warmer than I do in the cold. It was always disturbing to see her going to school in a heavy sweatshirt and jeans and nothing else on a frigid day, but I had come to accept it. Being in the cold doesn’t make you sick; germs make you sick.
Maybe I’m just more aware of it because of the whole Kelsea-coat thing, but it seems like more and more kids are running around in this -9 degree weather inadequately dressed. I saw two boys in SHORTS and sleeveless T-Shirts the other day, and it was all I could do not to yell out the car window “Go put some clothes on!! What are you thinking??” A girl walking to school this morning had on only skinny jeans, Uggs and a skin-tight zip-front hoodie, and the same cry once again nearly crossed my lips. Kelsea’s best friend was supposed to walk to school yesterday, but called and asked me if I could pick her up because she “doesn’t really have any shoes”. It’s true. She only has what I consider slippers.
I want to say “where is the parenting”? But on the flip side, I have fought the losing battle of trying to get my child to dress for the temperature. I know what it’s like. I know how hopeless and frustrating it can be. At least Kelsea does not wear jeans with intentional holes all over them, or burnout T-shirts and push-up bras, so I have a lot to be thankful for on that score. My Mother only used the phrase, “You are not going out of the house dressed like that” to me one time when I was 16. (She was fortunate too.)
But now that I am a mother, I will never be able to see a kid running around in summer clothing in the deadest of winter without cringing and having to turn my edit function wayyy up high. And keep my car windows locked. Or maybe I should just wear a gag.
Since I am in the throes of depression today, I am not writing, but for these random thoughts.
Blessings for today:
I tidied the pantry and it looks much nicer.
Kelsea’s best friend is spending the night. I like her. She’s like a second daughter.
Hydrocodone works well on bad menstrual cramps.
Dilemma Of The Day: My landlord sent me an email a few months ago, and mentioned in passing that his 15-year old daughter was not allowed to be alone in the house with her boyfriend. No particular instructions to me, just FYI. Well, yesterday I came into the big house to put my laundry in the dryer. To do so, I have to pass through said daughter’s room. As I opened the door, there was a rustling, and I hestitated and called out “Hello?” (She hadn’t been home when I’d put the laundry in the washer.) She was in bed, covers up to her neck, and said very loudly, “Oh, hi! I was just taking a nap!” She certainly didn’t sound sleepy and the bed looked as if someone had just gotten out of it. I apologized profusely for disturbing her, she said it was fine and she would go back to sleep now. As I left, I noticed her boyfriend’s car out front. Hmmm, I thought. Well, when I went back to get the laundry out of the dryer, I opened the door, and I heard them in the shower. I mean I HEARD them in the shower. Sex in the shower sounds the same if you’re 48 or 15. Unmistakeable moans and groans. I backed out most hastily, and they never knew I was there. But what do I do? Do I tell her dad? Do I talk to her? I don’t even know her. Do I tell my landlady (who’s her dad’s boyfriend)? Eww. Awkward. I don’t like ratting out young love, but I don’t want to contribute to a 15-year old’s unwise choices. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks to the Idiot (http://redriverpak.wordpress.com/) for introducing me to some wonderful new blogs. I feel like I’m making new friends, and will be updating the blogroll very soon. Thanks to AnotherOtherWoman (http://anotherother1.wordpress.com/) for the reminder to look for blessings each day. And thanks to The Unabridged Girl (http://theunabridgedgirl.wordpress.com/) for the concept of Project Happiness – it sounds like a fantastic idea and one in which I want to participate.
I have left the two main characters of my novel lying exhausted on a beach in the Caribbean. I think they will be sufficiently recovered next week so the tale can continue.
As for me, I am lonely and confused and sad. Love is the greatest blessing in the world and the biggest pain in the ass.
When we were coming in the house last night, we were talking about someone she knew, and Kelsea said, “You know, X seems older than us.” And then she realized what she had just said. And I realized what she had just said. And we laughed. It’s an interesting mix of flattering and worrisome when your 13-year old thinks of you as being her age.
It’s true, right now, we are close – more sister-like in many ways. Now before you think what I always think about parents who want to be their kids’ friends, stop right there. I never set out wanting to be Kelsea’s friend. That was never a goal. I’ve always been proud and happy to be her mom. But somehow, the friend thing has just happened. I still do all the mom-things, like making her do her homework, take a shower, clean up (as best as can be expected), etc. We still have the required talks about boys, sex, drugs, personal hygiene and just about anything else you can think of. But at this point, she’s pretty self-disciplined. She’s got a pretty good moral compass going (she even brought up the concept of the moral compass herself a few weeks ago).
As I rediscover myself as a single person, I am rediscovering a lot of buried treasure – otherwise known as fun. And Kelsea is fun. So when you put the two of us together, we have…fun. It’s just not always the typical mother-daughter fun (whatever that is).
Last night, for example, we settled in to watch a little TV. Normal, right? But what we wound up watching was “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Suddenly, the mother-daughter TV time travelled into another dimension.
As with most kids her age, Kelsea knows a lot more worldly things than I give her credit for. I have basically given up trying to “shield” her from topics that are overtly sexual or violent or evil. Between friends, the internet, and her Dad not doing that sort of editing, she seems to know a little about just about everything. In watching drag queens compete for the ultimate drag queen title, I actually found the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics that don’t come up in ordinary conversation: transvestism, transgender tendencies, make-up, cattiness, fashion. I had the chance to clarify certain questions that she hadn’t had anyone to ask. So it wound up being a good thing.
It also wound up being a politically incorrect hoot. We were calling each other the choice names we learned from JuJuBee, Raven and the new Tyra for the rest of the night. I was compelled to remind her this morning not to use those terms during her visit to the Alzheimer’s Memory Center today. But I found it as funny as she did. As always when we went to bed, even though we were both tired, we spent half an hour talking between our rooms about dreams, boys, travel. It reminds me of how my Dad used to lay at the foot of my bed, talking with me about anything, as I was going to sleep when I was littler than Kelsea.
This morning, we sat on the kitchen floor eating breakfast and composing new LOLs with the LOL magnets on the refrigerator door, and speculated on how many other mother/daughters eat breakfast on the floor. Not many, we concluded.
I’ve written recently about how I’ve been warned by almost everybody (except a very kind blog friend) how Kelsea will turn into the seven-headed unrecognizable demon from the black lagoon at any moment, so I should cherish these times. Well, guess what? I do cherish these times. I would cherish these times even if the transformation was not a possiblity in the offing. (And don’t worry, I’m waiting for that first shoe to drop.)
So maybe I’m not instilling in her the finest table manners, how to fold a hospital corner (okay, I have tried that) or how not to slurp her soup. But I hope I’m strengthening her base of knowledge. I hope I’m increasing her trust in her mother as someone she can talk to about absolutely anything, someone who won’t judge her regardless of the topic, her opnions or her actions. Someone to whom she can reach out if she needs help or feels troubled or confused.
I’d rather be doing that. And laughing with her. And just loving her.
I had a visit with my landlady this morning. We discussed plans for the garden that the Cottage and the Big House share. Our conversation strayed into positive thinking, diets and the future. We talked about Kelsea and how awesome she is now, at 13. My landlady told me that she felt that way about her own daughter at that age. Then things changed. You never expect it to happen, but one day that girl who you so like, admire, and enjoy hanging out with becomes a completely different, unrecognizable and noxious person. I so want to believe that won’t happen to Kelsea. She and I have talked about it often. I guess the bottom line is to hope for the best and expect the worst. And remember, if it happens, that this too shall pass.
What brought tonight’s post to the forefront, aside from this morning’s conversation, was a small thing that happened this afternoon. Kelsea had a friend over to visit. The three of us ran around doing errands for a couple of hours and then the two of them had an hour to pass until it was time for her friend to go home. They played with the Poppy, the Big House pug, for a long while, and hung out on the grass talking. Then they asked if they could go over to the church side of the fence and visit the playground.
After about fifteen minutes, I looked out to check on them. They were soaring high in the sky in their respective swings and the sun was heading down below the trees, casting a soft, hazy light on the scene. I felt like I was looking at two little girls – two little girls who were fading into the sunset. The innocence and small joys of being young were being swallowed by the emotions, hormones and pressures of adolescence, just as the sun was being swallowed by the horizon. But for just that moment, all that mattered was laughing, and swinging as high as they could go.
I wished for a minute (or more) that they didn’t have to lose that, to let it go, to focus on the challenges of growing up. But you always want your child to grow up – the alternative is unthinkable. And in my mind, there is a comfort: that when Kelsea becomes a mom, she will regain and relive all that joy and childlike wonder through the eyes and smiles of her own child.
Perhaps this is more of a Mom-Rant…I don’t know. I only know that I have some rants (or peeves) and it’s high time to express them. So, let’s start with the pick-up/drop-off lanes at Kelsea’s school.
Why, why, WHY is this such a cluster **** every morning???
The horseshoe-shaped drop-off zone has “Hug and Go” signs from one end of the horseshoe to the other. The door to the school is in the middle of the horseshoe, about 20 yards from the curb. The first car that enters the horseshoe should pull up to the far end, keep the motor running, give their child a kiss, let him or her open the door, get his or her backpack, close the door, and then the parent should drive away. Sounds so simple. (See the picture of the horseshoe drive below? This is Kelsea’s actual school.)
BUT…and this is a big but…
That’s not what happens. Parents drive up to the exact center of the horseshoe so that their child will not have to walk any more than the absolute shortest distance to the school door. And then they obviously discuss in-depth philosophical issues with said child for about 5 minutes prior to child exiting the vehicle, which in itself requires that the child open all car doors AND that the parent shut the car off and exit the vehicle to assist the child, OR (as occurred this morning) to CARRY the child’s backpack into the school WITH the child. Additional discussions between parent and child once both parties have exited the vehicle are also required.
Once the child has turned towards the school door, the parent (if not physically accompanying the child into the school) MUST re-enter the vehicle, watch the child until he or she enters the school and the door closes firmly behind him/her, then check their cellphone, put on make-up and deodorant, shave, adjust mirrors, start the car, wait for it to warm up, and then immediately pull back out into the horseshoe without looking to see if any cars are in the (theoretical) driving lane of the horseshoe.
Other parents are behind, jockeying for the next closest post position, or just sitting, waiting until it is their turn to pull up to the primo spot and perform the aforementioned ritual.
I seem to have some time warp issues with getting Kelsea to school on time. We’ve discussed it. We’ve tried all kinds of things to resolve it – leaving earlier, getting up earlier, packing up the night before, you name it. It’s just a maternal failing that I freely own up to. So we usually pull up to the horseshoe with minutes (or seconds) to spare before she’s tardy. I’m sure the front office can tell when she’s staying with me vs. her Dad, just like her friends can tell based on the quality of her packed lunches. (They take pity on her and share their lunches when she’s been with me.)
The dialogue (or soliloquy) in our car in the morning goes something like this from the time we approach the turning into the school parking lot:
Me: Why are you going so slow? WHY are you going 5 miles an hour? This is a 20 mile per hour zone. And it’s NOT a four-way stop. Don’t be so polite! Quit waving everyone else in! Maybe YOU don’t have to be someplace else but I do! ****** idiots! GO! GO! MOOOOOVE!!!
Kelsea: It’s okay, Mom, I’m already late.
Me: It’s not okay! Why do these Rock Creek moms have to be such idiots? This is stupid! It’s not that complicated! You just puuuulllll up, there you go, allllll the way up, there, see? This guy knows what he’s doing! He’s doing it right. Now see, I’ll just pull up behind him. Look, what a good drop-off parent – wait, oh no, no, he’s getting out of the car – what? He’s going into the school – he’s just LEAVING the car there! Now I’m blocked in. **** him!! ******* dumb-ass!! I’m going to ….
Kelsea: Bye, Mom, I love you!
Me: Bye, honey, have a great day.
So by the time I do get out of there, my blood pressure has soared, steam is coming out of my ears, and (depending on the day) I’m close to tears. I will say it distracts Kelsea from her customary morning grumpiness, so that’s a minor blessing.
And we just have to look for the little blessings in all of those things we can’t change, now don’t we?